Separations are seldom easy, more so when you are an immigrant spouse residing in the UK, who is either married to a British citizen, refugee, or someone permanently residing in the UK. Besides personal loss, this could also hurt your career prospects, especially if you qualify to work in the UK because of your spouse’s residential status. So, if you are wondering what happens to your UK Marriage visa after divorce, then here’s a complete guide. We understand how overwhelming this situation is and are here to help you plan certain measures, which can help you reside in the UK even after your divorce or separation.
Before we explore the many ways through which you may qualify to remain in the UK, always remember that you continue to be the spouse until the divorce is decreed or is mutually concluded through a court decree. Thereafter, you would be deported unless you get in touch with an Immigration Attorney and apply for a separate visa.
Your Attorney is most likely to recommend intimating the Home Office, depending on a case-to-case basis. In certain cases, this may help you gain permission to reside in the UK to complete your paperwork for a separate visa application. So, if you are worried about your UK Marriage visa, after divorce you may still qualify to reside in the UK. Let us now take a look at all the legitimate options that you have to continue residing and working in the UK.
Switch to a Work Visa
As an immigrant spouse, you may wonder what happens to your UK Marriage visa after Divorce. Unless you act fast, you may face the worst which is to be deported to your country of origin. Plus, if you wish to continue living in the UK despite your divorce, then it is more than likely that you are a career-oriented person who is either working or desirous of pursuing a career in the UK.
If you are already working, then you can use this to your benefit by having a word with your current employer regarding work visa sponsorship. Alternately, depending on your skill or profession, you may explore career opportunities with employers willing to sponsor your work visa.
In case you are not yet employed, and your spouse has filed for a divorce, then consider developing one of the in-demand skills to the earliest. Doing this may help you secure a work visa sponsorship from an employer in the UK.
Family Visa for those with Minor Children
If you aren’t a career-focused individual, then you are probably worried about what happens to your UK Marriage visa after divorce, because you have a family in the UK. So, if you wish to continue residing in the UK because you and your partner have a family here, then that might be possible.
Parents of minor children in the UK may consider applying for a Family Visa on these grounds. However, the child needs to be a British citizen, permanently settled in the UK, or must have resided in the UK for at least 7 years. A point to note is that one needs to have completed 18 years of age to attain majority in the UK. So, if any of your children are under 18 years of age and you either have or share that child’s custody, then you may apply for a family visa.
However, to get a Family Visa you need to be financially capable of maintaining your child without depending on the benefits offered by the government of the UK. Also, you would have to pass an English test and qualify through certain other financial prerequisites. Once your Family Visa is approved, you can continue to reside in the UK for 30 months and can subsequently renew it. Upon the completion of 5 years, you can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and continue residing in the UK.
Domestic violence ILR
If you cringe at the very thought of losing your UK Marriage visa after divorce, then that’s no reason for you to suffer domestic violence. As the victim spouse of a British citizen, person settled in the UK or a refugee, you have more rights than you probably know of. By promptly informing the Home Office about your situation and providing the necessary evidence to back-up your claim, you can get a 3-month permit to reside in the UK, which gives you enough time to apply for an ILR.
Most victims choose this route because it doesn’t matter for how long you have been married, you can still apply for an ILR as a victim of domestic violence. However, you would be required to produce evidence of domestic violence, which can at times be difficult. Nonetheless, if you succeed in taking this route, then you would be able to indefinitely reside and work in the UK.
Get an Education Visa
The UK has some of the world’s most sought-after educational institutions that offer a wide range of scholarships to foreign nationals. So, if you are about to be divorced then you could consider exploring them and pursue further education which entitles you to a Tier 4 visa, also known as the Student Visa. However, this option largely depends on your age, education, and willingness to pursue further studies.
If you have been living in the UK on an immigrant visa, then depending on the duration of your stay in the UK, you may be able to apply for an ILR. As a dependent spouse, you need to know that your struggles end as soon as you have an ILR. If you have that prior to your divorce or separation, then you have nothing to worry about being deported. You are absolutely independent and can continue to reside in the UK even after your divorce is decreed. However, if you don’t have an ILR and are wondering what happens to your UK Marriage visa after divorce then consider pursuing one of the abovementioned options. Depending on your personal situation, one of these would definitely be of use.